Louisville Photographic Archives unveil 300 photos from the city’s music scene

“Live From a Dark Room: Louisville Underground Music in Photographs, 1980-present” features work by 20 photographers who have captured Louisville’s vibrant underground music scene over the course of nearly the past four decades.

The nearly 300 photographs that cover the walls of the exhibit are part of the LUMA Project (Louisville Underground Music Archive).

One of the curators of the exhibit, Elizabeth Reilly, and her colleagues started the LUMA project in 2013. While concert fliers, posters and other artifacts from Louisville’s underground music scene were being donated to the project, Reilly and her colleagues weren’t seeing as many photographs as they had expected.

“That was sort of why we put the show together,” Reilly said during the opening night of the exhibit last week at the UofL Photographic Archives. “Because I knew there were photographers out there that had these images, and I wanted to showcase them.”

One of the musicians featured, Scott Mertz of Cornbread Mafia and Proles, reminisced: “I’ve seen some amazing bands and met a bunch of amazing people. And all these people on the wall are really kind of idols of mine.”

Mertz also noted how seeing the photographs together reveals the strong sense of community within the Louisville underground music scene.

“It’s a really extended community where if you’re in that community, you can pretty much go anywhere in the city. You’ll see other people that are in the community as well, maybe you don’t know them or you’ve never spoken to them, but you still have that camaraderie of people who can share the struggle of trying to be an artist. At least we get to struggle with something we love.”

Live From A Dark Room
Through Dec. 20
Ekstrom Library, UofL, LL17
2215 S. Third St.
Weekdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Chip Nold stands beside a photo taken of him by Bill Carner with Babylon Dance Band at UofL’s Red Barn in 1979.
Chuck Baxter, who was a member of the band Poor Girls, finds himself pictured in the croud.
Photographer Jennifer Martin stands to the right of a photo she took of Cory Smith of Cheyenne Mize and the Familiars in 2016.
Live From A Dark Room
Scott Mertz of the Cornbread Mafia and Proles stands to the left of a photo taken of him by Heather Cantrell in 2011 that’s from the series “Teach the World to Sing”.
Photographer Tim Furnish stands to the right of a photo that he took at the Rocket House in 1992.
Live From A Dark Room
Owner of the Mammoth and photographer Aron Conaway stands beside a photo he took of Buffalo Bill at Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge in 2008.
Live From A Dark Room